Traveling Vietnam Wall Opens in Carbondale
Dozens of volunteers gathered to construct the Traveling Vietnam Wall Thursday morning on the SIUC campus.
The 360 foot replica is the largest touring wall. It's 360 foot long and eight foot high at its apex. Over the next four days organizers are excepting around 20,000 visitors. Skip Cosgrove is on the committee that brought the wall to Southern Illinois. He says that many veterans don't want to travel to Washington to see the wall. Some are not sure how they will react and might break down emotionally as part of the healing process. Cosgrove says bringing the wall closer to them will help give veterans the atmosphere they feel at ease in: "It provides an opportunity for people to come in a more comfortable environment, more familiar environment, because its close by they can bring friends and family members along with them that they feel comfortable with also. So hopefully it's a more welcoming environment than it would be to travel by yourself to go to the wall in Washington D.C."
Friday, organizers are estimating about 2000 school children will visit the wall. They are coming from schools in southern Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. Some schools received curriculum and visitor guides last year to prepare for the visit.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for 6:30pm Thursday evening. There are events planned all weekend and a closing ceremony at 1:30 pm on Sunday.